Suitcase of Dreams

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All set to Study Abroad? Here’s your Tick-Off List of the All-Important Things You will Need to Get Done Before You Embark on Your Journey

If you are going abroad to study, packing your suitcase can be a very daunting task. When your cousin went abroad you saw your aunt maniacally packing in all of the things she could lay her hands on for her son’s comfortable and easy stay.
And of course, packing can be pretty crazy given the airline luggage weight limits.
Also, we don’t happen to be professional vagabonds who can pack their entire luggage in one backpack and move. When we move away abroad for our studies we have our folks, emotions and years and years of memories we are leaving behind. But one needs to realise the necessity of leaving back stuff, purely for
convenience purposes. Your luggage allowance includes two suitcases each weighing up to 23kgs, one carry-on cabin bag weighing up to 8kgs and one personal item could be a purse or laptop. Some airlines are nice enough to offer students three suitcases instead of the normal two, only if they are travelling to the US. Keep in mind the following list of things when packing:

Clothes
Carry a bare minimum set of clothes to last you the first week. A couple of dorm clothes, 3-4 pairs of clothes, and one formal suit will be enough. Once you settle in your new home, you can go shopping. Most countries abroad offer affordable and cheap clothes, which will look trendy and apt in your campus. It isn’t necessary to carry winter wear either because one generally needs different  ones for the European or North American winters. One pair of sneakers,  flip-flops and formal wear each should suffice. Carry a week’s worth of undergarments because laundry will happen only once a week or so. Carry a couple of belts and pairs of socks as well.

Medicines
Pack in a couple of strips of your general cold and cough tablets since it will take time for you to get used to the foreign weather. If you consume prescription medicines regularly, carry a good stock of them along with a proof letter of legitimacy signed by your doctor. Carry an extra pair of eyeglasses since they are expensive abroad. If you wear lenses you should carry them as well unless you are planning to wear disposables.

Food
Carry home cooked food, which will last for long. It will be of great help to cure your home sicknesses. Carry some homemade masalas. Now a lot of Indian food is available anywhere in the world.

Toiletries
Take only necessary toiletries, contraceptives and hygiene products. Most of the toiletries are of better quality and are cheaper abroad; unless you are the picky sort, you need not carry them with you.

Electronics
If you are planning on carrying electronic items with you, make sure you carry a power adapter and converter. Take a camera if possible, to share pictures with your friends and family back home.

Stationary and Books
Carry only those books which you will not get in your college library. You can
purchase stationary when you reach your destination itself. It’s not too
expensive.

Documents
Carry your passport, visa and plane tickets in your hand luggage. Make sure you carry your insurance documents, PAN card, international driving license and other such formal documents with you. Bon voyage

Checklist After Obtaining Your Student Visa

1. Email the university and inform them that you are attending their institution and advise them that you have procured your student visa.
2. Make sure you have taken all the vaccinations required by your university.
In general, most universities require the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and the Mantoux Skin Test (for Tuberculosis). Hepatitis B, although not required, is strongly recommended. Please take one shot immediately, one after one month and the last shot at the university health center itself (six months after the 2nd shot). You can also take vaccinations such as Meningitis, Tetanus and so on. These vaccinations are generally optional, but if your university asks, be sure to take them.

3. Buy student health insurance either at the university you are studying
in or from an external insurance provider. UK students get automatic insurance cover after living in the UK for a period of six months.

4. Book your ticket as soon as possible. Seats in peak season (August and December) fill up very quickly.

5. You can take about $4500 in traveler’s checks and about $500 in cash. The balance of the university fees can be obtained in the form of a demand draft and taken with you. You can even wire transfer the funds to the university. In most cases, you do not need to mail the fees to the university earlier.

6. Contact the Indian Student Association or the International Student Office at your university (address available from the university website) and request them to pick you up from the airport. Remember, not all universities or associations have this service.

7. If your parents or guardian will not be handling your financial affairs in your absence, arrange for an appropriate ‘power of attorney’ for the person who will be taking care of your affairs. You do not need an Income Tax Clearance certificate before you leave India. Similarly, you do not need ECNR to travel to developed countries.

8. Visit your doctor and dentist before you leave. Remember, dental treatment is very expensive overseas and so you must have a dental check-up before you leave. Also, arrange for an eye examination, so you can carry an up-to-date prescription in case you need to replace your glasses or contact lenses.

9. Prepare a shopping list and buy all the things you may need and can carry. Check with your airline for the exact bag and weight specifications.

 

Volume 2 Issue 2

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